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December 11, 2023

Sausalito Boat Parade Lights Up the Bay

Saturday night was one of the best weather windows we think Sausalito has seen in many a December, and boats came out by the dozen, dressed in sparkles and lights to celebrate the city’s annual Lighted Boat Parade. Hosted by Winterfest Sausalito, the event was (to our minds) the highlight of the weekend’s holiday activities, which also included Sunday’s Jingle Bell 5K Run and Pancake Brunch.

As the sky grew dark, the number of lighted boats increased until there was a steady flow of traffic cruising from the north end of Richardson Bay back down to the Sausalito Yacht Club. Scuttlebutt says there were 80 boats! Can you believe that? We can. We saw them; too many to count from our distant vantage point.

lighted boats
The Bay became a colorful wonderland.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Parade participants were entered into seven categories for best charter, sail and power boat, then the Sweepstakes, Club Cup, People’s Choice, and Ensperger awards. We won’t list all the winners and place runners, but you can see them here.

Barbara Treadwell and Marcy Pattinson, volunteers with Call of the Sea, joined the Matthew Turner for the parade and sent us some great photos.

Matthew Turner, all lit up and ready to join the parade.
© 2023 Barbara Treadwell
Freda B and a festive friend pass along the waterfront.
© 2023 Barbara Treadwell
Marcy (left) and Barbara helm Matthew Turner through the parade.
© 2023 Barbara Treadwell
And, of course, what boat parade doesn’t conclude with fireworks?
© 2023 Barbara Treadwell

We also found this fun video shared by Winterfest Sausalito on their Instagram feed. Video by @humpledonk/Instagram.

Bear Boat #17 ‘Huck Finn’ in Need of Help

We sometimes hear about boats that were once well loved and well maintained, but have sadly fallen on hard times and are in need of help. We try to help by getting the word out to alert enthusiasts with the time and energy to take on the project of saving said boat. In this case, we were alerted to the plight of the 1938 Bear Boat #17, Huck Finn, by Margie Siegal, who used to race the boat on the Bay, and sometimes shared her stories with Latitude readers.

“At the end of 2015, I donated the boat to Sausalito Community Boating Center (SCBC), due to concern about being able to retire and own an expensive boat. At first that worked well. SCBC was run by wooden boat enthusiasts who pitched in to maintain the boat. Since the docks were not in, I volunteered to manage the boat, and kept it at Richmond Marina Bay. They let me race the boat, and I came in first in three Master Mariners and engaged in other racing.”

This is the first time the crew and I won Master Mariners [2014]. We also won 2016 and 2018
© 2023
Margie then explains what happened next.

“The wooden boat enthusists drifted off, and were replaced by non-woodie enthusiasts. Huck suffered minor damage in a race. COVID shut everything down.”

The long and short of it is: Huck has been on the hard at San Rafael Yacht Harbor for three years, and all the work we did to maintain the boat has disappeared with time. Huck is not in good shape and San Rafael needs the space,” Margie writes.

Huck is a historic boat, with a lot of Sausalito history behind it. A group of Bear friends is moving the boat to Napa Valley Marina, and will pay to keep her there while we look for a new owner with good boatwright skills, who will get Huck sailing again.”

We’re sharing the call with you, dear readers and sailing enthusiasts, in the hopes that you, or someone you know, can help bring Huck Finn back to her former life.

If you can help, let us know, or contact the San Francisco Bay Bear Boat Association.

New Equipment Requirements for YRA and SSS Offshore Races

From the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay

If you’re planning to race offshore in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2024, you’ll want to take note of these changes to the offshore safety equipment requirements. They affect all coastal races run by the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay.

Drakes Bay Race 2021
Ocean racers slowly sail past the Marin Headlands in a light-air Drake’s Bay Race.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

In their December 1 Racing Roundup email newsletter, the YRA wrote: “Offshore Racers! The 2024 SERs have been published. The Safety Equipment Requirements for Offshore Racing in 2024 are now available. These requirements are used for all YRA Offshore Races, as well as many other offshore races starting in San Francisco Bay.

“Please pay careful attention to section 3.9 AIS, as this is the biggest change for this year.”

Changes to Requirements for 2024

3.6.2 Smoke Flares no longer required.
(Changed by US Sailing in March 2023.)

3.6.4 Hand Flares

A boat shall carry three SOLAS day/night red hand or parachute flares not older than the expiration date. (SF-YRA change)

3.9 AIS

All boats shall have an AIS Transponder, sharing a masthead VHF antenna via a low loss AIS antenna splitter. An acceptable alternative is a dedicated AIS antenna that is a minimum of 0.9 meters long, mounted with its base at least 3 meters above the water, and fed with coax that has a maximum 40% power loss. US Sailing AIS requirement for Coastal is effective January 1, 2024.

Old rule: The ability to transmit an AIS signal is not required by SF-YRA but the ability to receive an AIS signal is recommended. (SF-YRA change)

For the complete updated offshore requirements, see For inside-the-Bay requirements, see

The Singlehanded Sailing Society Follows Suit

At their season-end awards get-together yesterday afternoon at Richmond Yacht Club, Chris Case, commodore of the Singlehanded Sailing Society, confirmed what we suspected was coming. The SSS board agreed to implement the same equipment requirements for their own offshore races. These range from the short jaunt down the local coastline to Half Moon Bay to the biennial Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race to Hanalei, Hawaii.

Sailing past Baker Beach
SSS racers sail past Baker Beach on their way to Half Moon Bay in September 2021.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The gathered sailors expressed mixed emotions and conflicting opinions. Accomplished ocean racer Greg Nelsen, a marine industry professional, mentioned that the AIS transponder installation had cost him $1,200 including tax and splitter. Chris listened to all comments and acknowledged that he heard the reactions. There may be a possibility to exempt the SSS Half Moon Bay Race from the requirement, but we think that’s unlikely to happen. As Chris put it, how would it look if there was an incident and the SSS didn’t require transponders while the YRA Half Moon Bay Race did?

As with the YRA, the new equipment requirements don’t apply to SSS in-the-Bay races, such as the Three Bridge Fiasco coming up on January 27. And if you’re just cruising the coast, even as part of an official yacht club cruise-out, the new requirements don’t apply.

2024 PHRF Certificates

PHRF applications are now available for 2024. The fee for a PHRF certificate remains $100, which includes a $50 YRA membership fee.

“For renewals with no changes, there is no form needed, simply renew online through Jibeset and a new certificate will be sent to you,” says the YRA. “If you have changes to make to your current configuration please mark the changes on your current certificate and email it to us at [email protected]. For new certificates, download the 2024 PHRF Application and email your completed application to [email protected].”

Celebrating the Printing Press During the Holidays

Like sailing, the holidays are a good time to take a deep breath and slow down. It’s a time when we’re reminded of the difference between the digital and the tangible, as we value the tradespeople who work the printing press creating beautiful greeting cards, wrapping paper, great sailing books, and Latitude 38.

Holiday Gift Subscription
It’s always nice to receive something in the mail from friends.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

By slowing down, you can send out holiday cards, open holiday cards from friends, or sign up a friend for a holiday gift subscription to Latitude 38. Your lucky friend will then receive a gift from you every month for a year.

It’s one of the best things about getting the mail at the office this time of year. Many people who received gift subscriptions in years past send in renewals, while other folks send nice Christmas cards. It warmed our hearts to receive cards from Club Nautique, Owl Harbor Marina, Doris Kalin of Comp Graphic, and Margaret and Fred Fago.

The book Windward Passage
A short review of the stunning book on the inspiring history of Windward Passage is one of several book reviews in the December Latitude 38.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

You can find almost any information you want with your browser, but you can’t capture the feeling of relaxing and reading a book like the coffee table book Windward Passage. The collection of stories from crew and owners, and of how the legend was created, would be hard to capture any other way.

It would be an odd Christmas if there were no books wrapped in colorful wrapping paper with a printed card and ribbons under the tree, but that’s what a digital future portends. For our family, a magazine in our morning stockings was a family, holiday tradition.

Catalogs from the boat show
These beautifully printed catalogs remind us of the companies we visited at the Annapolis Boat Show. It’s one of the lasting values of print.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Fast is fun, but it’s also nice to take a lazy reach across the Bay — or any bay. Monterey Bay, Banderas Bay and San Diego Bay are all good places to unwind and get some fresh air during the holiday season. We won’t say it compares exactly, but putting your feet up and relaxing with a good book or a copy of Latitude 38 is another way to enjoy a “lazy reach” at home. When you open Latitude 38 you’ll find stories from your friends inside and be transported back into your world of sailing. Or you might find your own story that you sent in.

Windward Passage
The history of Windward Passage in pictures and stories is all collected in one large volume.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

If you want your kids to grow up loving reading, you can show them how it’s done by putting down the devices, picking up a copy of Latitude 38, and inspiring them to read about adventures on the high seas. It also helps when you put a magazine into a stocking, or a nicely wrapped book under the Christmas tree. It’s those books and magazines, created by the tradespeople who work their craft on the printing press, that have inspired generations of sailors.

If you’re looking for sailing book ideas for the holidays, you can find dozens of the books recommended by our Good JIbes podcast guests in the Latitude 38 online bookstore, where proceeds help Latitude 38 and independent booksellers.

A Question for the Nation
The boat is a unique ketch that my dad — Jean Filloux — designed himself with a naval architect friend at Sparkman & Stephens to be built with a first-of-its-kind manufacturing method that Jean came up with.
Silver Mines
Just like in the Comstock Lode in Nevada, there's still a lot of silver to be won from the 2023 racing season. It's available by reporting the races you've already sailed in 2023.
Oops …
This month's photo was sent in by Candy from the Swan 44 'Infidel.' And while it's not her original photo, it makes a great item for the CC(!).